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The Supreme Court today pronounced its verdict in the individual appeals filed in tussle for power between the Delhi government and the Lt Governor.
The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
This Bench was hearing individual appeals after a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on July 4, 2018 had held that the Lt Governor of NCT of Delhi is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of the National Capital Territory (NCT) government.
The issues involved in these appeals range from challenges to the Lt. Governor’s order directing the ACB Police Station not to take cognizance of offences against officials of Central Government, to a notification issued by the Directorate of Vigilance, GNCTD under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 without placing before the Lt Governor for his views/concurrence, to power to implement the Electricity Reforms Act in the capital.
When the Bench began delivering its judgment today, Justice Sikri said at the outset that there is a difference of opinion on certain aspects between the two judges on the Bench.
The two judges differed on the aspect of services, as a result of which, the matter will be referred to a larger Bench.
On the Anti-Corruption Branch being directed by the Lt Governor not to take cognizance of offences against Central government officers, the Bench upheld the Centre’s powers.
Further, it was held that the Centre would be the “appropriate authority” under the Commissions of Inquiry Act.
Issues pertaining to the Electricity Reforms Act, revision of minimum rates of agricultural land, and the power to appoint a special public prosecutor would all lie within the NCT government’s domain, the Court held. Regarding the revision of minimum rates of agricultural land, the LG is empowered to refer the matter to President if he is not in agreement with the decision of Delhi government.
In its 2018 judgment, the Court had interpreted Article 239AA of the Constitution, which contains special provisions with respect to the National Capital. The peculiar status of the NCT and the powers of the Delhi Legislative Assembly and the Lt Governor and their interplay were debated in the case.
The Court in that judgment had ruled that the Lt Governor cannot act independently without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, and has to work harmoniously with the NCT government.
The individual appeals were then directed to be placed before a regular Bench, pursuant to which the matter came to be heard by the Bench of Justices Sikri and Bhushan.
Read the judgment below.